By Ray Hickson
You could argue there are easier races and opposition for unheralded Kiwi three-year-old Mofara than what he’ll meet in the TAB Rewards Handicap (1400m) at Royal Randwick on Saturday.
But his co-trainer Emma-Lee Browne, with a refreshing ‘let’s have a crack’ attitude, is basically betting Mofara’s prizemoney earned to date on him measuring up despite only having a last start maiden win at Te Teko to his name from eight starts.
Browne, who trains in partnership with her husband David, said Mofara is a talented horse and his first-up win warranted finding out how talented.
“He only has a month left of being a three-year-old and at home he’s running for $10,000 and to run for this kind of money ($100,000) he has to be up to Group 2 level,’’ she said.
“We always thought quite a lot of him so we thought we’d take a risk and bring him over.
“He had enough money in his bank account to have a go at coming over, if it doesn’t work out there’s not going to be much left. If it does, it’s worth the gamble.’’
From eight starts Mofara has won just over $15,500 in prizemoney – first place on Saturday is worth almost three and a half times that amount.
He was thrown in the deep end in New Zealand at his first start running fourth in a Group 2 at Trentham – two subsequent Group 1 winners finished just ahead of him.
— Emma-lee Browne (@Em_mcveanracing) July 4, 2018
At his third start he ran second to last weekend’s Sunshine Coast Guineas winner The Bostonian, who is trained by Browne’s cousin Tony Pike.
Browne said Mofara lost a bit of form and after a mishap he had to be gelded and it cost him most of his three-year-old season but he began to make up for lost time with a last-to-first win over 1200m at Te Teko on June 15.
“He’s raced in quite good company but we had a hiccup and had to geld him and it took a while to get over it,’’ she said.
“He won first-up against the pattern of the day, getting right back at that track it's pretty hard to do.
“We saw this race, obviously Sydney racing is the strongest and it is a bit of a gamble coming over but it is the time of year to do it.
“He likes a bit of cut in the track which you seem to be having at the moment.’’
Mofara arrived at Randwick midweek and is stabled on course with Jim and Greg Lee.
He opened a $26 chance with TAB for his Sydney debut, making Browne’s gamble that little bit riskier but she’s adamant he is capable.
“I think he will run well, his galloping work has been very good at home otherwise we wouldn’t have come, after he arrived he tucked straight into his breakfast which is a good start,’’ she said.
“He is a better horse when ridden a bit quieter in the beginning and does have a good turn of foot.’’